Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Betty La Fea (Betty the Ugly) Mas Bella Update X

Okay, now that Lety and Fernando have beso'ed (and Fernando has wiped off his lips as Lety fled enamored into the night), you can probably see where "La Fea Mas Bella" is going, even if you didn't see the original, "Betty La Fea." I want to say a little more here because the original was whacked by the correct crowd not just for turning "Betty" into a beauty at the end but for having her "get" a guy who, all things considered, was not that great a prize. Here's a guy who, in the name of preserving his business once he . . . oh, let's not do the whole convoluted plot here . . . decides to pull the heroine away from a boyfriend who really isn't and who might threaten the business but really doesn't by pretending to be in love with her. Now, much of this is instigated by his moral-challenged best friend, but the hero is knowingly and willingly not only misleading the heroine but also cheating on his fiance, who, for all her terseness (tersity?), really does love and want him. The fact that he has to drug himself on what was apparently a barrel of alcohol just to kiss Lety is not exactly a saving point. And he gets worse over the next couple of weeks before the subterfuge hits the fan. (I'm not giving away plot here. The story is good but it's predictable. It's not Shakespeare or Rod Serling.) All in all, the hero is a pretty unattractive character through this next extended section of the show.

Which is the point. "Betty"/"La Fea" is not one story but two, mirror images of each other. The heroine grows into a beauty to match her poor but noble upbringing (although there will be that adultery thing). That's the main storyline. But the flipside of that is watching this handsome, well-bred but shallow young man turn into this ugly creature, before his own eyes. I won't give the details, really, but he begins to transform before she does, into something better because of her. But the plot requires the "boy loses girl" thing, after which she undergoes hers. Note the timing, though. He develops his feelings for her, to match hers for him, before she breaks from him, and that break-up and the knowledge of how richly he deserves it will, if "La Fea" follows "Betty," break the old him down almost completely. He has to make himself worthy of her, the real her, not the transformed her. Yes, she undergoes the ugly duckling to swan thing, but that's after he's seen and valued her for her. So the complaints that the story sells out to looks and that he's such a jerk that she should never choose him in the end just don't understand what's happened to him as well.

So, if this next section of the story is a little hard to take in its cruelty and misplaced trust, don't dump it. They have a purpose, and the payoff is good. In the meantime, enjoy Marta and her "diet," "el Cheque"'s coming dilemma, Tomas's cell phone, and how Alicia ends up having to come to work. (Teasers, teasers, teasers.) The story still has a way to go, and the secondary plots remain telling and touching. It was the blend of all this that kept us watching "Betty" and "La Fea" has captured almost all of that. It will continue to be worth your time. Even if you'd like to punch Fernando. (Maybe that's another teaser.)